“The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”: Setting
The setting in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story is not definite, however, speculations as to where the village is located may be made. Marquez bases his novels and short stories on much of his nation’s history. His hometown, Aracataca, Colombia, is the setting for many of Marquez’s works. In Marquez’s most famous works, he introduces the village of Macondo, which although quite larger than the village in “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World”, may very well be the developed version of Esteban’s village. In Marquez’s novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Macondo is described as once being “a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones” (1). Macondo is “surrounded by water on all sides” (12). The description of the village given in “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” suggests that it may very well be Macondo in its earlier times.
Macondo is depicted as a magical village in One Hundred Years of Solitude “where no one was over thiry years of age and where no one had died” (9). Later in the novel, the founder of Macondo wants to relocate the village due to its geography and upon resistance from his wife, gives reason for leaving and says “We still have not had a death… A person does not belong to a place until there is someone dead under the ground” (13).
In “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” the discovery of the dead man imparts a sense of identity in the villagers. It is then called “Esteban’s village” (3). Macondo being the setting of Marquez’s short story is significant as Macondo itself is a made up place, a myth produced by Marquez based on the history of his hometown and nation.
Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. One Hundred Years of Solitude. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006. Print.